Labour market governance and working conditions in Pakistan

A garment factory © ILO

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The Constitution (Eighteenth Amendment) Act, 2010 has brought sweeping changes in labour administration of Pakistan with several functions previously performed by the federal Government devolving to the provinces with the responsibility of legislating and administering of labour laws. A strong Labour Market Governance drives business confidence and investment high, and is essential to establish a well-functioning labour market.

Since Pakistan has ratified two important governance conventions namely Labour Inspection Convention (No.81) and Tripartite Consultation (ILS) Convention (No. 144), it provides a strong foundation for development of an effective labour inspection system to meet the growing challenges of globalization and economic liberalization.

Predominantly, Labour Administration is devolved to the Provincial Governments in Pakistan. There are five Provinces (Punjab, Sindh, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Baluchistan, Gilgit-Baltistan) and two regions (Islamabad Capital Territory; and Pakistani Administered Kashmir). The four Provinces (Punjab, Sindh, KPK and Baluchistan) have much established systems while the two regions are in process of evolving their systems. The Provincial Government of KPK is in process to put in place Labour Administration System in the seven (7) Newly Merged Districts (NMDs) – formerly known as Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA). The Provincial Departments of Labour do have elaborate Labour Inspection machinery, training facilities and are supported by administrative and judicial mechanisms to ensure compliance and address violations of labour legislation. In Federal Government and each of the four Provinces, there are Tripartite Consultative Committees – to advise measures on Labour Administration.

The DWCP (2016-22) emphasizes on strengthening labour inspection system in order to enhance work place compliance and promote decent working conditions. Some of the key strategies embedded in the DWCP include:
  • Establish a reliable and efficient reporting mechanism within the labour inspection system.
  • Strengthen the capacity of the tripartite constituents to undertake diagnoses of workplace compliance.
  • Strengthen the capacity of the tripartite constituents to advocate for formulation of relevant policies and legal framework concerning labour inspection.

Key resources

  1. Asian Decent Work Decade resource kit: labour market governance

    16 September 2011

    This booklet is one of six parts to the kit, serving as a gateway into ILO expertise and knowledge on the regional priority area of labour market governance.